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AEP press release

Rob Cheripko, managing director - Customer Services, displays the Center of Excellence certification plaque awarded to AEP's Customer Solutions Centers.

Delivering high-quality customer service makes AEP's Customer Solutions Centers (CSCs) a leader in the utility industry, but their commitment to excellence also makes the organization a leader in the customer service call center industry. The CSCs recently achieved a significant milestone when they received Center of Excellence certification from the Center for Customer-Driven Quality at Purdue University. The Center of Excellence certification is awarded to customer service call centers that rank in the top 10 percent of the 20,000 call centers studied. "Our certification process requires that your call center be both efficient and effective," said Dr. Jon Anton, director of benchmarking for the center. "Under the leadership of Rob Cheripko, the AEP Customer Solutions Center has effectively optimized the use of people, processes and technology to consistently deliver a level of customer service that surpasses most others in your industry." Purdue benchmarks the performance of thousands of customer service call centers in 43 different business industries in North America. Certified call centers balance a commitment to service excellence with cost effective service strategies. "For the majority of our customers, the call center associate is the voice of AEP," said Craig Rhoades, vice president - Customer and Distribution Services. "This level of performance can't happen without the outstanding leadership in our Customer Solutions Centers and the commitment and dedication of our customer solutions associates." "While we have known for a long time that we are doing things the right way, it is a nice feeling when an independent expert in the call center world confirms our beliefs," said Cheripko, managing director - Customer Services. "We have been awarded this honor because of the great combination of talents within the CSCs and the support organization. I am proud to be a part of the Customer Services organization and I thank all of our CSC managers, associates and support staff for helping AEP achieve this great distinction." To earn the Center Of Excellence designation, a call center must meet objective, quantitative criteria and pass audits by BenchmarkPortal researchers. The key drivers of superior call center performance in customer service include operational efficiency, service level standards, customer satisfaction, leadership, quality/training, staffing/scheduling, and CSC support.

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"Becoming a Call Center of Excellence can be a game changer for businesses. Fighting to keep customers in today’s economy is paramount to most companies and the Center of Excellence distinction has helped drive us to that end result. Going through this process yearly continues to challenge us to improve processes and service levels. The detailed process that BenchmarkPortal provides in comparing our data with a large peer group is unparalleled. At the end, you have a clear roadmap of what is working well and what needs focus and attention for improvement. Because of this, we have been able to develop plans each year to drive better results and better customer experiences. This, coupled with a knowledgeable staff, helps us to close the gaps and continue to achieve excellence in every area. Every call center out there should be doing this benchmarking process; we are proof that it works."


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